Scotland bowler John Blain destroys Forfarshire

JOHN Blain is mad keen to rekindle his Scotland career – and in the wake of events at the weekend, Forfarshire’s batsmen will be queuing up to write references on his behalf.

Jake Marnie connects with the ball as Watsonians keeper Andy Hislop looks on. Picture: Gordon Fraser

He may be no spring chicken, but the paceman’s potent spell of bowling at Forthill would indicate strongly that he still possesses what it takes to succeed at the upper levels of the game.

Typically, Blain opted after the demolition job on the hosts to talk up the talents of his Grange squadmates, and stressed that – contrary to widely held belief – the club are not a bottomless pit of players.

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He declared: “Clinical is probably the best word to describe our display up at Broughty Ferry, especially when Forfarshire’s line-up featured so many internationalists.

“We had a few frontliners missing, but we were bright and organised and the guys who were called up did a good job.

“The common opinion is that Grange have players-a-plenty, but that is actually not the case.

“What we have done is identified a style of play that suits our group and combined that with discipline and work ethic.

“In terms of my own aspirations, I would still love to play for Scotland after a few years out of their plans. Nothing has changed in that regard.”

Blain grabbed five for 14 as the home brigade capitulated to 61 all out. Skipper Andrew Brock was the ideal and equally effective foil, taking four for eight with his spin.

Grange embarked on a quick and decisive pursuit, George Munsey clouting 40 not out as they scooted to the target in the 11th over with only one wicket down.

Another player lost to Scotland in recent times is Arbroath batsman Fraser Burnett – and like Blain, he fired a reminder of his skills to the national selectors.

Burnett and Co have proved to be a jinx to Aberdeenshire at Mannofield, and the trend continued in emphatic fashion as the champions plunged to their first defeat of the campaign.

He thumped a marvellous 121, underlining his lasting frustrations over having to hand over the title crown to the Dons last year.

Burnett’s epic knock propelled Arbroath to a seven-wicket victory as they responded to Shire’s 223 for eight.

The innings spanned 120 balls and included three sixes and 14 fours. His third wicket stand with Elton Willemse (56 not out) was worth 157.

Earlier, Chris Venske had been the only home star to master the varied Arbroath attack, hitting a fine 93 before being trapped in front by Brendon Ford.

To complete a miserable day for the northern teams, Carlton hammered Stoneywood-Dyce at People’s Park.

Ex-Saltires captain Gordon Drummond was the destroyer-in-chief with the ball, snapping up four for 39 as the locals limped to 153 for eight.

Then Rory McCann hit an unbeaten 86 and Hamish Gardiner struck 41 to carry the capital men over the line.

Falkland must have feared the worst when they were hustled out by Heriot’s for only 121 on home turf.

But the bowlers rose to the challenge – Brock Ditchmen and Safyaan Sharif in particular – and they skittled the Goldenacre outfit for just 102.

Sharif and Ditchmen shared a six-scalp haul.

And at Inverleith, the woes of newly promoted RH Corstorphine deepened when they were toppled by Watsonians.

A battling 51 not out by Pete Steindl enabled RHC to pass the 200-mark, but it was a cruise for Sonians, thanks mainly to Ewan Chalmers’ 74 not out.